at the expense of (someone or something)

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at the expense of (someone or something)

1. The financial responsibility of a particular person or group. Once I learned that the trip was at the expense of my department, I decided to go.
2. To the detriment or disadvantage of someone or something. I was furious when I heard the other kids telling jokes at the expense of my little brother.
See also: expense, of
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

at the expense of someone or something

Fig. to the detriment of someone or something; to the harm of someone or something. He had a good laugh at the expense of his brother. He took a job in a better place at the expense of a larger income.
See also: expense, of
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

at the expense of

Also, at one's expense.
1. Paid for by someone, as in The hotel bill for the sales force is at the expense of the company. [Mid-1600s]
2. To the detriment or injury of a person or thing, as in We can't speed up production at the expense of quality, or The laughter was all at Tom's expense. [Late 1600s]
See also: expense, of
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
'Our growth is not at the expense of somebody else's exploitation.'
Cameron wanted his Falklands moment - a quick, showy military victory won at the expense of somebody else's son, somebody else's husband.
Leaf blowers may be convenient for their users, she said, but they operate "at the expense of somebody else's comfort."
What we have here is a charter for the idiot inebriated to excuse their own drunken behaviour at the expense of somebody else.
All of that is of utmost importance in our part of the world just now because you will still be able to find that there are dreams of a paternalistic state, together with open or hidden suspicions that getting richer is always at the expense of somebody else and that the creation of wealth is a zero-sum game.
My happiness cannot be at the expense of somebody else's.